Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Human Body Is Built For Distance

Sorry I haven't written in a while, our 2nd clinic Sports Solutions has been keeping me busy... and stressed so far. Anyway, the topic for this particular post was actually "given" by one of my patients and a very frequent participant in our weekly running club sessions (on Thursdays).

I first read about this topic last year when I was made aware of a book "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall, based on the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico, a tribe unknown to the rest of the world but are capable of running extraordinary distances in nothing but thin-soled sandals. This was what led me to write about 2 of our more popular topics on March 14 this year "  Do High Tech Running Shoes Work "and "Pain Free Running" on March 17.

The article -which is the title of this week's post was published in the New York Times on 261009 and this patient sent me a link to this article. Go ahead and have a read, we humans are really made to run.

Ask our participants at our running club, many of them have been told by their doctors and surgeons not to run, but are now running again. Give us a ring to let us know if you are coming (63331211 or 62236078). Here's too more running.

*Photo by Luis Esocobar, The New York Times

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sports Massage Available This Weekend!

We have sports massage available this weekend for the runners participating in the Nike Human Race today and North Face Run. Having a sports massage after your race hastens your body's recovery process. Call us at 63331211 to book your appointment.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Running Club @ Sports Solutions

It's been a great start to our first days at Sports Solutions. Thank you for all the support that we've received!

We are unique as we offer Sports Physiotherapy, Sports Massage, Sports Nutrition, Strength and Conditioning, Sports Psychology and Sports Rehab all under one roof.

Our running club now starts at Sports Solutions, 108 Amoy Street. Call us at 62236078 to let us know that you'll be joining us on Thursdays at 630pm.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sports Solutions Opens

For all our patients who have been waiting patiently for us, our second branch, Sports Solutions will open to see patients from tomorrow 21 October 2009!

We have named it differently as it has a sports rehab space/ gym that we will be able to use to return our patients back to sports and /or after their injury or operations.
Of course we will also have physiotherapy and sports massage therapy services there as well.

There will also be strength and conditioning, sports psychology and sports nutrition services available upon request as well. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Sports Solutions is located at 108 Amoy Street, Singapore 069928. Tel 6223-6078. Fax 6223-6079.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Excessive Kneads

If the picture looks familiar, you are right, it has been taken from yesterday's Sunday Times (111009) Life section, page 9.

As the article pointed out, there are no published studies showing that too many massages are bad. However, let me share a true experience from the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Our Team Singapore medical team consists of only a doctor and 2 physiotherapists (only) for the whole Team Singapore contingent. Besides looking medical and sports injuries' needs of the athletes, all three of us had to double up and do sports massage for the athletes as well (since we don't have a sports massage therapist with us).

One of our swimmers (who shall remain anonymous) insisted of receiving 3 sports massages a day (even after the competition). If it was before the competition and if time permits, I'll say no problemo. And if the swimmer came back with a medal, I'd say alright I'll do it (after the competition as well). But the swimmer was really quite far away from even making the finals so I said to the swimmer "if you get 3 sports massage sessions a day, does that mean you will swim 3 seconds faster?"

The swimmer stormed off and didn't speak to me for a few days. What I am trying to say is that yes, sports massage does have some benefits (if done properly and at the right time), but 3x a day? Through my experience of working with athletes, I know that some prefer (and can handle) a sports massage close to their really important events (1 or 2 days before). Others prefer 4-5 days before their big event. Now, every athlete is different and have different preferences. You all know that you shouldn't wear new shoes, running shorts, vests, etc before your race, well same for sports massage, nothing new or nothing you aren't familiar with.

One other comment though, caught my attention. The comment was made by a principal physiotherapist at a local hospital --"a massage using non-professional and forceful techniques can lead to problems such as nerve damage and cerebrovascular accidents such as stroke and bruising".

Personally, I feel that there is no justification at all for that comment made by the principal physiotherapist. Especially if you come to our clinic, our staff all all extremely well trained and experienced. If you search the current scientific databases, there is currently no documented or published evidence (in Pubmed, PEDRO etc) of such claims. A cerebrovascular accident or stroke involves arteries inside the cranium (or skull),so unless the massage therapist performing the massage fractures the cranium and so disrupts the blood supply, there is virtually no chance of a stroke happening.

As for nerve damage, it would really take quite a fair bit of force to inflict any "damage" to our nerves as nerves are actually quite hardy.

*Picture ST Photo: Terence Tan

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Does Exercise Increase Damage To Your Joints?

Most runners may have heard or read in some way or another through inaccurately written articles that too much exercise may be harmful to their joints. Most of the general community perception is similar too, that too much running or exercise are mostly harmful to joints. Well, all runners (and other athletes) will be real pleased to know that exercise does not cause osteoarthritis (OA) but might actually help to prevent it.

Well, here is the good news, there is actually no strong evidence supporting the fact that regular exercise can cause harmful effects in normal joints (i.e. joints without any pre existing injury) according to a review of studies published in the article cited below.

The review paper was a joint effort between German and American researchers that looked for a relationship between exercise and osteoarthritis which found none, except in elite athletes in sports where they incurred knee injuries. In fact for comparisons between runners and matched controls (who didn't run), the runners were found to have lower rates of OA compared to their sedentary counterparts.

The researchers found that there was a higher likelihood of elite athletes sustaining sports injuries leading to an increased risk of OA in the damaged joints. Count me in, I've had 3 knee operations between 2002-2003 when I was still training and racing. (Thank the good Lord, it was really difficult, but I managed to get back to training and racing at my previous levels and have had no problems ever since). Guess that's where pain free running helps. More info here.
The researchers concluded that for most other people though, vigorous, low-impact exercise is beneficial for both physical and mental benefits.

So, if you do not have any prior existing injury, keep running and exercising. If you do, there's always pain free running.

Hunter DJ and Eckstein F (2009). Exercise And Osteoarthritis. The Journal Of Anatomy 214(2): 197-207.

* In the picture above of a body composition DEXA scan, the brighter areas in lthe ower limb bones correlate to stronger bones.